Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Canadian Miner Hits Gold in Glacial Till (Part 2)

(Some of the trees, deadfall, and brush that Travis "X" had to clear before mining.)

Here's more of what Canadian gold miner Travis "X" had to say about his small-scale mining operation on his claim in northern British Columbia (B.C.):

"Deadfall Everywhere"

"I severely underestimated the amount of chainsaw preparation work it takes to open up these sites. There is deadfall everywhere and the roots of the trees really slow a guy down. Often I would spend an hour of prep time removing roots, prying out the boulders, and breaking up the ground with a pick just so I could shovel into my highbanker for one hour uninterrupted."

Where to Find Placer Gold
Gold Prospecting and Mining Tips

I think Travis makes a very important point here. Many small-scale or recreational placer miners (especially those just starting out) don't realize the amount of hard work it takes in more remote areas or claims (like Travis') just to prep a location for mining. This is over and above the basic, 3rd World laborer pick and shovel work that forms the core of all individual gold mining enterprises.

(Travis' highbanker and one of the most important tools of any small-scale placer mining operation...the 5-gallon bucket!)

"Researching the Area"

"One final note is that I found this claim by researching the area on the internet and noticing that there was a section of open ground between two existing legacy claims that had been held since the early 1970s (and still are today). Legacy claims are old 2-post claims that were staked by hand prior to the establishment of the internet-based staking system that came into use in B.C. in 2005."

"The original legacy claim owners believed that their two claims touched but when the government came into the area to survey all claims as part of the online grid system conversion, a determination was made that one of the legacy claims was actually further down the creek. This left a small open section available that I staked online. My section is about 100 yards along the creek and includes some of the hillside around the legacy claims."
"Finally, when I went to do some sampling I found the two gold-bearing benches. Although it seems counter-intuitive to common gold deposition theory, digging to bedrock is not the thing to do here."

 (Once again, some of the placer gold recovered from Travis' efforts.)

Words to the Wise

Some words to the wise here: I am always harping about doing your homework and Travis is a classic, positive example of the benefits of so doing. Secondly, his research online paid off with a claim he could file, thereby avoiding the hassles, expense, and potential scams involved with buying a claim (something I myself have done and DON'T recommend to others.)

Next, Travis' sampling efforts reveal another important point. The best gold is not always in a streambed or wash...something I have reiterated in my posts for years now by telling readers to "look higher up" if the gold's not where you thought it should be. 

Of course the validity of this approach will vary from location to location, but on Travis' claim it was the RIGHT approach. Bench gravels (glacial or otherwise) should always be investigated and sampled thoroughly.

Good luck to one and all.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Characteristics of Gold-Bearing Quartz Veins (Part 1)"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2011

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Thanks for commenting Greg. Jim

  2. Been dealing with ground like it myself, and found a maddock really speeded things up. Still it's a lot of work glad to see that Travis is able to turn sweat into gold on his claim.

    Downside to using a maddock to deal with tree roots is having to dress it's edge every now and then, and you can't forget your eye protection. Also because you never want to get bit by one, it's the second tool I'll put down when I'm tired... first is an axe!

    Good going Travis!


  3. Thanks for your great comments here. I'm sure Travis appreciates them as much as I do. Best of luck out there! Jim